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Lush Cosmetics Overview and Review

Published on Sep 17, 2016 in Bath & Body

When it comes to finding cosmetics and natural products purveyors that you can rely on, it’s not always easy to identify the companies that provide products which are effective, as well as safe and natural. There is no doubt that Lush Cosmetics fits this billing. As Lush details in its mission statement, the company believes in developing effective products from fresh, organic natural fruit, vegetables, essential oils, and safe synthetics, without the use of harmful chemicals.

Lush invents all of its own products, which is a big part of what has made the company such a success. Not only does Lush provide high-quality standardized cosmetics and personal care products, it breaks conventional molds by developing unorthodox natural products which have been met with great acclaim, like the celebrated Lush Bath Bombs. Boasting a catalogue that not only enhances all-natural lifestyles but creates more of a cosmetics and natural products experience, Lush has made great strides towards establishing one of the most respected brand names in the industry, and justifiably so – the good will that the company has built up with its effective, safe, and natural products is deserved to say the least. This is our Lush Cosmetics Overview and Review.

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Lush Background and History

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Mark Constantine, Founder of Lush

The story behind Lush is an interesting one, and one which has had a ripple effect on the cosmetics industry at large. Mark Constantine was working in a hair and beauty salon in the early 1980’s when he read about The Body Shop, a British cosmetics and skin care company in the midst of a meteoric rise to the top of the industry. Constantine, who had a strong background and education in dermatology, contacted the founder of the company, Anita Roddick, in order to offer her some of his own products and creations. Initially making only small orders, The Body Shop would gradually do more and more business with Constantine and his partner, Liz Weir, until they eventually became the largest supplier of The Body Shop in 1988. This was when Constantine agreed to sell his formulas to The Body Shop, in an agreement which legally prevented he and Weir from opening a retail establishment of their own for five years.

Circumventing this, the pair decided to open a mail-order cosmetics company called Cosmetics-To-Go. The ordering business was a success but eventually fizzled out when the small-scale operation failed to fill all of its holiday orders and suffered from overwhelming demand, seeing its computer systems crash and its service reputation sullied as a result. Cosmetics-To-Go was sold and the team headed by Constantine and Liz sunk their teeth into a new operation, having been freed from the restrictions of the agreement with The Body Shop made years prior.

Establishing itself in a small storefront with a makeshift upstairs ‘lab’ in Poole (in 1994), the new and yet-unnamed operation fostered good will in its area by selling truly natural products made from ingredients such as fresh fruits and vegetables. After moving operations to a fully-fledged factory, and settling on the name ‘Lush’, the company was off, making waves with its popular products and making sure it had the resources to accommodate demand and large-scale ordering. Gradual and deliberate growth never slowed, and the company now produces goods out of five factories and boasts annual sales of over $170 million. Ironically, in 2001, Constantine and Lush attempted to buy out The Body Shop, which had fallen on hard times and was actively looking for financial solutions to its woes. The company dismissed Lush’s proposal but was later bought by L’Oreal in 2006.

Why is Lush so Popular?

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Lush Store

Now one of the leading players in the cosmetics industry, Lush has set itself apart and endeared itself to its loyal customers in a number of different ways. For starters, Lush’s insistence on creating only natural, vegetarian, and safe products carries universal appeal in addition to making for a quality line of cosmetics goods. Lush has also managed to distinguish itself amongst a sea of cosmetics products manufacturers by creating unconventional products and marketing them in unconventional ways. For example, Lush produces a wide range of cleansers and scrubs, all of which have easy to remember and untraditional names, like their ‘Handy Gurugu Hand Cream’, or ‘Dark Angels Soft Charcoal and Sugar Scrub’. Lush’s products are also all handmade, and through packaging and form take on a much more distinguishable presentation than what one would expect out of a cosmetics company.

This is part of what is described as the ‘Lush Experience’ – Lush’s storefronts are all strategically designed and crafted to give customers more than a simple browsing experience. Featuring intoxicating aromas, Lush stores overwhelm the senses, with all of their colorful products on display and available to be tested or tried, free of charge – all anyone needs to do is ask! Lush employees are particularly attentive, and the carefully crafted product displays (products are placed on wooden tables with minimal to no packaging), along with the pay-by-weight nature of the goods, make customers feel like they are buying products which are truly fresh and natural. All of this has helped Lush build one of the strongest consumer goods “cult followings” today.

Lush Product Overview

Lush produces a wide range of cosmetics and personal care products, all of which, as previously mentioned, are made using only vegetarian or vegan recipes. From creams, to soaps, to shampoos, to lotions, moisturizers, scrubs, masks, and other facial cosmetics, Lush’s catalogue has every end of the cosmetics and personal care products game covered. Lush is constantly becoming more daring in their development and experimenting – the increase in manufacturing capability and resources of the company has given Lush the luxury of continuing the push into new and exciting product lines and idea realization. Lush has been most successful in this respect with their line of bath bombs, which are basically pods, or spheres, of solid, natural ingredients which make baths a more colorful, scented, and soothing experience. Although it is tough to limit any list of top Lush products in any way, these are our top-5 favorite Lush products:

  • Sex Bomb Bath Bomb

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Lush Sex Bomb

Lush’s most popular bath bomb, Sex Bomb is aptly named for the aphrodisiac ingredients it contains as well as for the exciting, soothing experience it creates in the bath. Containing soya milk in order to smooth skin, as well as jasmine, clary sage, and ylang ylang in order to stir excitement and passion in its users, Sex Bomb creates a colorful bath that looks as good as it feels – and it feels pretty terrific. Sex Bomb comes in a 6.3-ounce sphere (think a little larger than a tennis ball), and Lush can’t keep churning out enough of them!

  • Dark Angels Facial Cleanser

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Lush Dark Angels Facial Cleanser

Designed to exfoliate and absorb excess oils in order to achieve a more matted and fresh layer of skin, Dark Angels does its job and cleans your face like few other cleansers are capable of. Using black sugar and charcoal (see – unconventional!), the mud-like cleaner nourishes skin and even has a hydrating effect. Anyone who uses it has no trouble understanding how it has become one of Lush’s most popular cleansers, and Dark Angels is available in 3.5 or 8.4 ounce sizes.

  • Mask of Magnaminty

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Lush Mask of Mangaminty

This popular masking product works as well as a cleanser as it does as a mask. Utilizing China clay and peppermint in order to cleanse pores, the Mask of Magnaminty leaves skin with a pleasant, tingly sensation and includes aduki beans for exfoliating purposes, and vanilla and honey to calm and soothe redness and irritation. Recommended by Lush as a weekly masking treatment, the Mask of Magnaminty is available in 4.4 or 11.1 ounces.

  • Solid Shampoo

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Lush Solid Shampoo

One of the best examples of Lush putting a non-traditional twist on a standard, downright routine personal care product, is Lush’s solid shampoo bars. These long-lasting bars boast the staying power of two to three bottles of liquid shampoo (the bars come in a standard 1.9-ounce size) and are packed with essential oils and natural ingredients designed to offer different pleasant smells, cleaning experiences, and textures.

  • Bubble Gum Lip Scrub

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Lush Bubble Gum Lip Scrub

“Lip Scrub” wasn’t exactly a thing when Lush introduced this bubble gum-flavored, smoothing cleaner, but that didn’t stop it from becoming one of the most popular items in Lush’s extensive product line. Made with jojoba oil and other natural ingredients, the bubble gum lip scrub leaves your lips soft and smooth and ready for other lip applications like lipstick or gloss. Lush’s Bubble Gum Lip Scrub comes in an 0. 8-ounce size.

Lush Ethics and Outreach

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Charity Pot, a Charitable Product from Lush

Lush prides itself on its ethical business practices and charitable outreach. Lush has taken outward stances against animal testing and in favor of ethical buying practices, external auditing, environmental preservation, and customer care (as evidence by their incredibly customer friendly storefronts and employees).

Proudly stating on its website that it does not test any of its products on animals, Lush wasn’t always the most ethically sound company, but is a leader in ethical business practices in the cosmetics industry today nonetheless. Lush donated over $8 million globally to small charities which work towards preserving and bettering the environment, animal protection, and workers’ rights. In 2007, Lush created Charity Pot hand and body lotion, all of the proceeds from which were donated to various charities.  The company has taken a number of other charitable product initiatives of this nature and continues to increase its charitable outreach efforts.

Lush Cosmetics Review

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Lush Cosmetics Products

The very best part about researching and writing this Lush overview feature was, undoubtedly, having the opportunity to try out various Lush products for the sake of reviewing them. I tried out an assortment of Lush products from their body, face, hair, and makeup lines, and for the most part enjoyed or appreciated their benefits, although it wasn’t all smooth sailing. For started, Lush’s American Cream body lotion provided the same therapeutic effects for me as I’ve had other, cheaper products and body lotions provide. American Cream is an effective lotion, sure, but not one that warrants what is essentially a luxury price tag.

After using a couple of different Lush shower bars, I was very surprised that the claims of the bars outlasting multiple bottles of shampoo seemed to be pretty accurate. I didn’t make it through an entire bar, but the pace that it was being used at seemed to make it clear that it would in fact last longer than my traditional shampoo products. However, the bar didn’t necessarily clean my hair as thoroughly as my usual shampoos, and it is a more invasive process to cover and clean your entire head of hair when using a bar. I think I’ll probably be sticking to traditional shampoos in the future. Lush facial cleansers and masks did an impressively effective job of cleaning my skin – I’ll be going back to Lush for my facial scrubbing needs for a certainty, as other brands have let me down in this area in the past.

Finally, Lush’s famed bath bombs provide an undoubtedly fun bath time experience, but it’s up to the user whether or not these one-time-use bombs warrant their collective price tags. It’s not that the bombs will break the bank – far from it – it’s more that the thought of making a bath a $10-$20 expenditure isn’t a pleasant one. Overall, the line of Lush products seems effective and inventive, although not necessarily always warranting the premium one would pay rather than opting for a generic brand.

Lush Kitchen Review

One of the most unique outlets offered by Lush is that of the Lush Kitchen. Lush Kitchen is basically a window into the Lush world, providing consumers with a unique look into the Lush formulating and creation process, as well as the opportunity to purchase new, cutting-edge, experimental creations. As Lush describes,

“The Kitchen is an exclusive window into the world of Lush manufacturing, where the words ‘fresh’ and ‘handmade’ come to life. Our compounders are cooking up a storm, experimenting with giant bath bombs and mixing up creative visions. Get a glimpse of limited edition recipes, and freshly dreamt up innovations. We’re throwing open the doors, and you’re invited to take a look.”

Lush Kitchen is not only a fun, interactive way for fans to get to better know the Lush brand, but a statement about the validity of Lush’s claims. Not only can the company boast about its natural ingredients and safe processes, it can prove it, and does so proudly. If only other companies followed suit!

Conclusion

Lush offers a combination of selling points that isn’t commonly found in the cosmetics industry, or really any industry for that matter. A producer of well-made, quality, natural products which are made in only ethical and environmentally friendly ways, it’s easy to see why Lush is so admired and how it achieved the success that it has. A company with an eye for innovation, it’s likely we’ll be seeing more breakthrough products from Lush – in fact, Lush seems to just be getting started.

Thanks for reading our feature on Lush – check back for more features on cosmetics and personal care brands here at Maple Holistics!